Family Nephrolepidaceae / Oleandraceae
Fishtail fern
Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott 'Furcans'

FORKED SWORD FERN

Scientific names  Common names
Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott 'Furcans' Fishtail fern (Engl.)
Aspidium beserratum Sw. Sword fern (Engl.)
  Forked sword fern (Engl.)


Botany
Fishtail fern is a stoloniferous fern with short erect rhizomes. Leaves are up to 90 centimters long, leathery, arching, green to yellow green, with the leaflets forked at the end.

Distribution
Widely cultivated in Philippine gardens.

Constituents
- In a study for nutritive value, leaves showed to contain more (P<0,05) dry matter and crude protein than any other portion of the plant. Stem contains more crude fiber and ash than the leaves. (5)
- Phytochemical screening of essential oil, methanol extract and fractions yielded anthraquinones, alkaloids, tannins, steroids, phytosterol, saponin, triterpenoids and flavonoids. Essential oil, methanol extract and methanol fractions were rich in phenolic and flavonoid contents. GCMS analysis yielded various biologically important compounds; dominant compounds were benzeneacetaldehyde, alpha.-cubebene, butyrolactone, phenol, benzyl alcohol, phenol, 2-methoxy-, 4h-pyran-4-one, 2,3-dihydro- 3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl, 2h-pyran-2-one, 4,6-dimethyl-, catechol, benzofuran, 2,3-dihydro-, phenol, 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl), hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester, n-hexadecanoic acid, 9,12-octadecadienoic acid, methyl ester, phytol, gamolenic acid and octadecanoic acid. (7)

Properties
- Considered antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, antioxidant.

Parts utilized
Leaves, roots.

Uses
Nutrition / Edibility
- Leaves are boiled and eaten as vegetable.
- In west New Guinea, flour is reported to be extracted from the roots of the fern.are pounded to flour. (1)
- Rhizomes and young shoots eaten as vegetable.
Folkloric
- No recorded folkloric use in the Philippines.
- In Malaysia, used for skin disorders.
- In Tahiti, used for blisters, boils, abscesses and sores. (4)

- In Cameroon, decoction of fronds used for lower abdominal pains.
- In NW Guyana, leaves used for treatment of wounds and cuts.
(2)
Others
- Fodder: Nutritive analysis suggests a potential fodder for dry season feed of small ruminants. (5)

Studies
Antibacterial / Antifungal:
Study investigated the antimicrobial properties of three selected ferns, viz., P. nudum, Nephrolepis bisserata and N. cordifolia. Water and ethanol fractions were active against most of the tested bacteria and fungal strains. (3)
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study investigated the protective effect of the methanol extract of N. biserrata leaves against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage in rats. Results showed high total phenolic content which may be the major contributor to its strong antioxidant activities. There was also hepatoprotective activity against CCl4-hepatotoxicity. (6)

Availability
Garden cultivation.

Last Updated May 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Ferns as Food / Ferns Important to Man in New Guinea / Ferns and Man in New Guinea / Jim Croft / Australian Natural Herbarium
(2)
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana) / botany.si.edu
(3)
In Vitro Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Frond Extracts of Psilotum nudum, Nephrolepis biserrata and Nephrolepis cordifolia / Dolly Rani, P. B. Khare, and P. K. Dantu / Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Nov-Dec; 72(6): 818–822. / doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.8460
(4)
Medical Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivity of the Ferns of Moorea, French Polynesia / Nicole Baltrushes / Senior Honors Thesis
(5)
Nutritive Value and Potential of Medicine Plant (Nephrolepsis Biserrata -Schott) as Feed Resource for Big Ruminant / Okono A. B. and Uzaho U. / Department of Animal Science, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
(6)
Summary of "Antioxidative and chemopreventive effects of Nephrolepis biserrata against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced oxidative stress and hepatic dysfunction in rats / Pharmaceutical biology
(7)
PHYTOCHEMICAL INVESTIGATION AND FREE RADICAL SCAVENGING ACTIVITIES OF ESSENTIAL OIL, METHANOL EXTRACT AND METHANOL FRACTIONS OF NEPHROLEPIS BISERRATA / DAWOOD SHAH, MUHAMMAD; YOONG SOON YONG; IQBAL, MOHAMMAD / International Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences; 2014, Vol. 6 Issue 9, p269

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.
Potential Herbal Medicines and Drug Interactions

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